Ian Rankin, one of the leading writers of police procedurals returns to one of his newest characters, Inspector Malcolm Fox in this 2012 novel. Fox and his two assistants, Sgt. Tony Kaye and Constable Joe Naysmith have been sent from Edinburgh to investigate police corruption in the town of Kirkcaldy, county Fife. Fox belongs to what we in the ‘colonies’ call Internal Affairs and in Scotland is known as ‘Complaints,’ a division of all police departments that is despised by other ‘coppers.’ Their only responsibility is the investigation of police corruption.
Fox and his crew are there to widen the investigation of Paul Carter, who has already been confirmed as a policeman willing to exchange sexual favors from women in order to overlook minor offenses. However, there may be several other policemen involved with Carter, if for nothing else but for overlooking his misdeeds. Carter was originally turned in by his uncle, Alan Carter, an ex-cop. As Fox and his team widen their investigation, Alan Carter turns up dead … an apparent suicide … or is it a murder made to look like a suicide. To complicate matters it appears that Alan Carter was looking at a case he was involved in back in 1985.
Fox and Kaye and Naysmith have to decide how wide an investigation is called for and if there is any possible connection between the present case and the one in 1985. Besides possibly widening the investigation, they realize they will be stepping on a lot more official toes! And, what they are looking at is a possible connection between the 1985 case and their present original investigation. There is good reason why Ian Rankin is now considered among the best writers of this genre.